Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 7:00 PM EST on September 19. Odds subject to change.
Detroit -3 -113 over Atlanta
1:00 EST. We're getting this wager out now because we don't want you to lose out on a great number. The Lions opened as 6-point favorites at some books, but now it's as low as -3. We can't disagree with that movement.
Spirits were high at Ford Field last Sunday but a Lions' win just wasn't meant to be. The 0-1 Seattle Seahawks simply refused to lose and played great down the stretch. In reality it could have gone either way, but three Lions' turnovers tilted the trajectory of the game in Seattle's favor, leaving Detroit fans sorely disappointed in their first home game. They'll have a great shot at redemption this Sunday.
Despite a loss, the Lions' offense still looked like the best unit on the field throughout most of their Week 2 contest. Jared Goff's pick-six interception in the fourth quarter was out of character but he was still exceptional overall, owning a 80% completion percentage (28/35) for three touchdowns on 9.2 yards per pass. He's 50/70 (71%) for 576 yards and four touchdowns through two games this season, and he's had among the best protection of any QB so far. Detroit also ran the ball well, utilizing David Montgomery and a dynamic backfield to accrue over 100 yards.
The Lions' turnovers were even worse luck because of how untimely they were. Before the pick-six Seattle TD, Montgomery fumbled on Detroit's first play from scrimmage to start the second half. Just 23 yards later and the Seahawks tied the game in what could have been a conceivable 14-point turnaround. Although Seattle fought hard and ultimately deserved to win, bouts of bad-luck like that is variance that we expect to regress.
Detroit's defense was perhaps their biggest liability in Week 2. In particular, their defensive line barely created any pressure all game. Geno Smith, D.K. Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett all made incredible plays to score 37 points in an overtime win, but we expect Detroit's resistance to play much better in Week 3. We recognize that placing C.J. Gardner-Johnson on the injured-reserve list is no small casualty, but this is still an improved Lions' defense in all three phases of their group.
The Falcons had the perfect setup for a 2-0 start. Two home games, one against a rookie QB and new coach and one against an undermanned Green Bay Packer team (no David Bakhtiari, no Aaron Jones, no Christian Watson) has led to an undefeated start for the improved Falcons. As predicted by many fantasy-heads, rookie RB Bijan Robinson has jumped off the screen with his raw talent. Atlanta is a run-first operation and Robinson will no-doubt be an x-factor for the Falcons this Sunday, but their offense has looked rather pedestrian otherwise. Desmond Ridder looked very shaky for stretches the last two weeks, only averaging 176 in the air through two games, and their pass-attack just hasn’t passed the eye-test. Atlanta bettors and fans were calling for Taylor Heinicke by halftime last week; not exactly a buy-sign on their current operation. If the Lions go up early, which is a real possibility after the way their Week 2 ended, we're not sure the Falcons are built to catch up.
The Atlanta defense has impressed so far, allowing only 267 yards per game, but who have they faced? A national audience just watched Bryce Young and the Carolina offense struggle mightily on Monday Night Football, the same team that fought hard in a close game against the Falcons in their opener. Oh and they took on the Packers without their three best offensive players. Oh and they still only won by 1 point...
The line has gotten way too cheap. This is the Falcons first real test and although they're a good team, one that's developing before our eyes, the Lions will be extremely motivated to prove they're still levels above their NFC counterpart on Sunday. It's worth mentioning that Detroit does have a lookahead game looming on Thursday night at Green Bay, but we're not concerned. If anything, they’ll need this win even more because of that match up - going into Lambeau Field on a short week won't be easy, nor does it guarantee a win. We see great value on the the Lions this Sunday.
Detroit -3 -113 (Risking 2.26 units - To Win: 2.00)